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How to cook pork ribs

Making a Splash

Difficulty: Beginner

Pork ribs are one of the quickest and easiest barbecue cooks you can do. It’s a multi-step process that takes around three hours. Getting it right makes it easy to knock out multiple racks, which make entertaining easy.

Video Tutorial


Step 1

Square the ribs up by removing the bone on one or both ends that is not complete. Depending on the ribs, you may also need to square across the top, removing the rib tips. These are softer, more cartilage-like, and you’ll be able to feel them with your hand by bending at the top of the rack.


Don’t throw away any of the trim, it is still good to cook!


1. Trim ends to square rack.jpg

Step 2

One of the most important steps is removing the membrane from the back of the pork ribs. This will allow you to slice easier and won’t have a papery feel to the back on the ribs when you’re eating.


Slide a butter knife under at the edge of the ribs close to the end of the rack, then use your finger to loosen back to the end of the rack. Grab a paper towel and grip the membrane and pull it back the opposite way to remove it. Discard.


Trim any hard fat from the top of the ribs.


2. Remove the membrane.jpg


Step 3

Season the ribs with your favourite barbecue rub, more liberally on top and make sure you get the edges. Leave it for 30-45 minutes and it will develop a dark red colour, which is what you are going for.


3. Apply rub.jpg

Step 4

Place in a 135c (275F) smoker for 90 minutes. Add a chunk of smoking wood to the coals. We like to use apple or peach.


Cook until the ribs have developed a nice mahogany colour and they feel firm.


4. Smoke until at colour.jpg

Step 5

Using a double layer of foil, spread butter, sugar and honey, and place the ribs upside down on the foil. Wrap tightly (you don’t want them to steam), and return to the smoker, bone side up.


5.1 Add butter, sugar and honey to foil.jpg  5.2 Wrap with butter, sugar and honey in foil.jpg

Step 6

After another hour, remove from the foil and check to see if they are bending yet. The ones in the video went a little over, which is OK. But if they are under cooked, they won’t bend as much. Glaze with a warmed sauce and return to the smoker for 20 minutes for the sauce to set.


6. Glaze ribs.JPG


Step 7

Turn the cooked ribs upside down on a board and slice between the bones with a sharp knife. It’s OK if they are a little soft, they are still good eating.


7. Slice the ribs.jpg  7.1 Enjoy.jpg


  • Rack of baby back or pork spare ribs
  • Charcoal and smoking wood (peach or apple)
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Foil


  • Smoker barbecue
  • Boning knife
  • Chopping board
  • Digital probe thermometer


1. Trim ends to square rack.jpg

2. Remove the membrane.jpg

3. Apply rub.jpg

4. Smoke until at colour.jpg

5.1 Add butter, sugar and honey to foil.jpg

5.2 Wrap with butter, sugar and honey in foil.jpg

6. Glaze ribs.JPG

7. Slice the ribs.jpg

7.1 Enjoy.jpg

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